H’berg Hospice is there to help you

Helderberg Hospice recently held an exhibition at the Hector Petersen Library in Lwandle, which catered for residents from Nomzamo, Asanda Village and surrounding areas.

This was their way of spreading the word about the work the hospice does and its importance to such communities.

Sisters Nora Kewana and Muriel Franse are the home-based care nursing sisters at Helderberg Hospice for the Lwandle and Nomzamo areas.

“We are staging exhibitions in all the Helderberg area libraries to raise awareness of what we do for the community,” said Cheryl Rundle, fundraising and events coordinator at Helderberg Hospice.

“We firmly believe dying people have the right to appropriate care no matter what their financial status is.”

She says the hospice serves the entire Helderberg basin, and there was “a great need for our services in areas such as Lwandle, Nomzamo and Asanda Village”.

“However, we have found that the community is generally unaware of what we offer. We believe that dying people have the right to appropriate care no matter what their financial status is.”

Rundle said the library exhibitions are therefore being held to increase public awareness.

Exhibitions thus far have been held at Strand Library, and further exhibits in Macassar, Nomzamo, Sir Lowry’s Pass Village and Gordon’s Bay are planned.

Franse told City Vision that after the exhibitions many are now aware of hospice’s services and are asking questions.

“People have this narrative that hospices are places for people to die,” she said. “That is not the case, but instead we comfort people and assist wherever we can. We deal a lot with people that are sick, some have been discharged from hospitals and we try bring comfort to those people until they pass away.”

Franse pointed out that people are generally referred to the hospice, rather than the intake being direct.

“We have noted that we needed to reach out more, as there are hardly any black people coming to our hospices,” she said. “So I believe we need to share more knowledge and get to know and understand how to work here. We don’t heal people, but assist them at a time when they know that getting better is unlikely.”

Rundle said patients and families were asked to contribute if they can, and some medical aids do cover the cost of Hospice care.

The Helderberg Hospice is a non-profit organisation that has operated since 1985, providing palliative care and professional support to all members of the Helderberg community who have been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness.

Rundle said on receiving their diagnosis, it is important for patients to be referred to them as early as possible, so that they can assist wherever necessary on what is essentially a health journey on its own.

To become a patient, Helderberg Hospice requires a “Medical Referral Form” completed by the doctor or specialist involved with the patient.

Once registered as a Helderberg Hospice patient, a home-based care sister will be allocated to person, according to where they live.

An appointment will be made to visit the patient at home within 24 hours. As the hospice points out.
. We are available for advice and input 24/7.
. We offer emotional support for the patient, family and friends.
. We can explain what to expect.
. We explain symptoms and address any issues that may arise.
. We can explain the diagnoses in a language you can understand.
. We have time to spend with you to explain what the diagnosis really means.
. Turn to Helderberg Hospice for information and advice if you or someone you know has been diagnosed with a life threatening illness.

Anyone who missed the exhibition and talks, and would like more information on the organisation and the way that it can help the community, can call 021 852 4608 or send an email to info@helderberghospice.org.za